Cape Town – England’s departing defence coach Paul Gustard has made two brave predictions: Eddie Jones’ men will beat the Springboks 3-0 and win next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Gustard earlier this week quit as Jones’ assistant to take up the job of head coach at English club Harlequins.
The 42-year-old leaves England with the team under pressure having lost their last three Six Nations matches.
Next month, they face a tough three-Test away series in South Africa – a place where they are yet to taste a series victory.
England also face New Zealand at Twickenham in November this year but Gustard feels they are capable of dethroning the All Blacks at next year’s global showpiece.
“I fully believe the team will continue to kick on and improve, and that on November 2, 2019 we’ll lift the World Cup,” Gustard was quoted as saying on the Stuff.co.nz website.
“There’s always change with England. It’s another opportunity for the team to grow. It’s a difficult thing to walk away from your country, of course it is, but the opportunity to do this was just too good to turn down. It’s brilliant for me.”
Gustard, who has been with England since January 2016, will take up his new post after England’s tour to South Africa.
He also predicted that England would win the series against the Springboks 3-0.
“Why not? Why think that we can’t do it?,” he added.
“We’ve got some very good players. It’s a new challenge. We want to respond after not doing ourselves justice during the Six Nations. We underperformed but we’ve looked at it, analysed it, critiqued it, red-teamed it, we’ve put it in a washing machine and tumble-dryer and brought it out again. We’ve got a different product now that we’re giving to the players. It’s different for them and from that point of view I think we’ve prepared appropriately to win 3-0.”
England’s first Test against South Africa is scheduled for Ellis Park in Johannesburg on June 9, followed by Tests in Bloemfontein (Free State Stadium, June 16) and Cape Town (Newlands, June 23).
Cape Town – Ashwin Willemse, Nick Mallett and Naas Botha have spoken publicly for the first time since Saturday night’s drama on the SuperSport set following the end of the Lions v Brumbies game in Johannesburg.
In scenes that have now been seen hundreds of thousands of times around South Africa, a clearly upset Willemse left the live set while suggesting that Mallett and Botha had patronised him continuously.
Willemse had said that he could no longer work with his two colleagues and left.
Since then, the South African public has been divided in its opinion of what transpired with race a common feature of the conversation.
A meeting was held at the SuperSport offices on Monday that was attended by all three men as well as anchor Motshidisi Mohono.
The meeting provided no finality, with SuperSport saying that they needed to conduct further investigations into the incident, but all of Willemse, Mallett and Botha gave a single comment following its completion.
“We had robust discussions in which I aired my views. I’m very appreciative of the process undertaken by SuperSport. The complexity of the issues is very profound,” said Willemse.
Mallett, who had to leave the meeting to catch a flight, acknowledged that there were things that needed to be further understood.
“I appreciated the opportunity to air my views. Clearly there are issues that must be grappled with. I am more than happy to collaborate and contribute to resolving this matter,” he said.
“This was a first meeting and we all had our say, which was helpful. We’ve invested in a process to resolve matters and I’m confident that we will get a satisfactory resolution,” added Naas Botha.
No time frame has been set for a follow-up meeting.
Watch the press conference below. Please note, sound only starts 1:50 into the video.
Johannesburg – South African Football Association (SAFA) president and Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive Danny Jordaan is facing a second sexual assault complaint, it was reported on Sunday.
The Sunday Times said an unnamed 40-year-old woman filed a complaint with police this week against the 66-year-old football official.
She alleges Jordaan, one of the senior organisers of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa, sexually assaulted her on three occasions.
The Sunday Times reported that the woman is a prominent author and the niece of a top politician.
Last November, singer and former South African lawmaker Jennifer Ferguson said she was sexually assaulted by Jordaan 25 years ago.
Ferguson later flew to South Africa from her home in Sweden to lay a charge with the police against Jordaan.
Jordaan’s lawyer, Mamodupi Mohlala, denounced the latest complaint, saying it was an attempt to make his client “ineligible” to seek a second term as South African football boss.
The national association are scheduled to hold presidential elections this Saturday and Jordaan is the lone candidate.
“This is another attempt to discredit our client in the media,” Mohlala told AFP.
“The only place for these charges is in court and we call once again on the media and the public to allow justice to do its job.”
The police refused to comment.
Cape Town – The Sharks got back to winning ways when they beat the Chiefs in their Super Rugby clash at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks won a scrappy match littered with handling errors 28-24 after the sides were tied at 10-all at half-time.
The Sharks, who lost 39-33 to the Bulls last weekend, scored three tries through flyhalf Robert du Preez, wing Lwazi Mvovo and replacement scrumhalf Cameron Wright. Du Preez was also on target with two conversions and three penalties.
The Chiefs, who were decimated by injuries and call-ups to an All Black camp resulting in no fewer than 20 players unavailable for selection, replied with three tries of their own by lock Tyler Ardron, centre Charlie Ngatai and wing Solomon Alaimalo. Flyhalf Marty McKenzie added all three conversions and a penalty.
In next weekend’s Round 15 action, the Sharks travel to Buenos Aires to play the Jaguares (Friday, May 25 at 21:40 SA time), while the Chiefs host the Waratahs in Hamilton (Saturday, May 26 at 09:35 SA time).
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi
15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 12 Johnny Fa’auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Luteru Laulala, 23 Toni Pulu
Cape Town – The Hurricanes stumbled and fumbled their way to victory over the Reds in their Super Rugby clash in Wellington on Friday.
The Hurricanes, widely expected to hand out a hiding to their visitors, were made to fight for their 38-34 victory having led 24-20 at half-time.
The Hurricanes scored five tries through flyhalf Beauden Barrett, wing Ben Lam (2), No 8 Blade Thomson and lock Sam Lousi. Barrett was also on target with all five conversions and a penalty for a personal haul of 18 points.
The Reds, who were vastly improved following their 63-28 mauling at the hands of the Sunwolves last weekend, replied with four tries by prop Taniela Tupou, wings Filipo Daugunu and Jordan Petaia and centre Samu Kerevi. Flyhalf Jono Lance landed all four conversions and two penalties on a good night for the kickers.
In next weekend’s Round 15 action, the Hurricanes travel to Christchurch to play the Crusaders (Friday, May 25 at 09:35 SA time), while the Reds host the Highlanders in Brisbane (Saturday, May 26 at 11:45 SA time).
Hurricanes 38 (24)
Tries: Beauden Barrett, Ben Lam (2), Blade Thomson, Sam Lousi
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (5)
Penalty: Beauden Barrett
Reds 34 (20)
Tries: Taniela Tupou, Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi
Conversions: Jono Lance (4)
Penalties: Lance (2)
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Julian Savea
15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Izaia Perese, 23 Aidan Toua
Lyon – Antoine Griezmann was the hero for Atletico Madrid as the French striker scored twice in their 3-0 win over Marseille in Wednesday’s Europa League final, allowing his club to win the trophy for the third time in nine seasons.
It is Griezmann’s first major title as an Atletico player, and a fitting way to bow out if he leaves at the season’s end, with Barcelona tipped as his next destination.
Griezmann – brought up in Macon, just 70 kilometres from Lyon – scored once in each half, his lethal finishes coming either side of Marseille losing Dimitri Payet to injury, the French side’s captain coming off in tears.
He now has 29 goals for the season, although it was Gabi’s late strike that put the seal on the victory.
Marseille had been desperate to win the second European trophy in their history, on French soil, 25 years after beating AC Milan in the inaugural Champions League final in Munich.
But it was a flat night for their huge support, who threatened to ruin the occasion by constantly lighting flares and setting off firecrackers at one end of the stadium, with some even being thrown onto the pitch towards the end.
The game carried on regardless, with Rudi Garcia’s side well beaten by Diego Simeone’s Atletico.
Their triumph comes after their agonising defeats to city rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. They had previously won the Europa League in 2010 and again in 2012, the latter coming just six months after Simeone’s appointment.
Simeone served a touchline ban here, meaning assistant German ‘Mono’ Burgos nominally took charge, but that did not perturb them on the field.
Having fallen into this competition by virtue of a shock group-stage exit from the Champions League, Atletico were the favourites against a Marseille side whose continental campaign had begun in the the third qualifying round last July.
Just being in this final, their 19th European game of the season, was an achievement for Garcia’s team. But they will look back on the evening with regrets.
After all, they had started well and had a great chance to open the scoring inside four minutes, Valere Germain shooting over from an excellent position after being slipped in by Payet.
It was the kind of chance that does not come up often against an Atletico side who had kept 33 clean sheets in all competitions this season before this game.
Having been on top, Marseille were then punished for sloppy defending as they fell behind in the 21st minute.
Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda opted to play a pass to Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, deep in midfield, rather than clear long. The Cameroonian’s attempt at a touch was awful, and Gabi pounced on the loose ball, sending Griezmann through to finish.
That subdued the massed ranks of Marseille fans, and things got worse for them when Payet, their captain and most influential player who had been struggling with a hamstring problem ahead of the game, came off crying just after the half-hour mark.
Marseilles needed to take the game to Atletico in the second half, but instead they conceded again just four minutes after the restart.
It was a glorious goal, Griezmann finding Koke and then latching onto the return ball as he stormed into the box before lifting a deft finish over Mandanda and in.
Substitute Kostas Mitroglou nearly set up a grandstand finale, his header coming off Jan Oblak’s post, before Gabi’s low drive in the 89th minute made it 3-0.
Cape Town – South African teams leaving Super Rugby for tournaments in Europe would have dire consequences for New Zealand Rugby, a Kiwi scribe has warned.
A recent report indicated that SA teams were planning to leave Super Rugby for the PRO14 competition in Europe.
The Wales Online website reported that the Sharks would be the next South African side to join the PRO14 competition for the 2019/20 season, with the Lions and Stormers potentially following suit the season thereafter.
SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos strongly denied the report, but Mark Reason, a columnist for New Zealand’s Stuff.co.nz website, feels the southern hemisphere governing body’s boss may be in for a rude awakening.
“This is feverishly wishful thinking from the chief executive of SANZAAR. The reports are full of substance and make absolutely terrifying reading for New Zealand Rugby,” Reason wrote.
“If South Africa do decide to leave but for a skeleton team or two in Super Rugby, then the competition’s revenue streams will plummet. Such a fall would be enough to bankrupt NZR by 2023. At their current rate of spending, New Zealand Rugby need a significant rise in income from their next Super Rugby television contract just to break even.”
SANZAAR’s TV rights deal expires at the end of 2019 and Reason fears that South Africa will seek greener pastures in the north.
Reason also admitted that a move to the northern hemisphere would be in favour of South African rugby.
“You have to ask the question – why wouldn’t South Africa go to Europe? Here are all the points in favour of a move. The compatible time zones mean that the away games will all be on TV at prime times. The flight time from Johannesburg to London is five hours shorter than it is to Auckland.
“The combination of the PRO14 competition and the European Cup are commercially way more valuable than Super Rugby can ever hope to be. It is the economics of population size.
“And of course half of South Africa’s top players are already playing in Europe. But in favour of Super Rugby there is, er, taking suggestions from the back – the high standard of New Zealand teams raising standards, you say. Maybe, but I’m struggling to see that on the balance sheet. South Africa’s fans don’t like seeing their teams being constantly humiliated.”
In a strongly worded press statement released last week, SANZAAR said all its member unions were still on board and involved in an ongoing review to determine Super Rugby’s future up to 2030.
“As part of this process the member unions have fully committed to the strategy and their future participation,” Marinos said in the statement.
“Any talk of a change to the stakeholder relationship and partners withdrawing, creation of new teams in new markets and trans-Tasman competitions is unsubstantiated speculation and simply wrong.”
Huddersfield – Arsene Wenger admitted it was hard to keep his emotions in check as the Arsenal manager brought the curtain down on his 22-year reign with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield on Sunday.
After 7 895 days and 1 235 games, it was ‘au revoir’ to Wenger as the Frenchman took charge of Arsenal for the last time.
Wenger has been on a nostalgia-tinged long goodbye since Arsenal announced last month that his historic reign would come to an end once the season was over.
And the 68-year-old was overcome with emotion before and after Arsenal’s last game of the Premier League campaign.
“Of course it is very emotional after 1 235 games for the same club,” Wenger said.
“To enjoy it we had to win it, winning football games is what makes me happy and the boys did it.
“Do I feel relief? Not really, I’m sad. At some stage it has to end, I wish everyone well, the fans have been great until the end and I wish the club well for the future.”
Greeted by headlines asking ‘Arsene who?’ when he was hired in 1996, Wenger departs firmly established as Arsenal’s greatest manager.
He won three Premier League titles, including the famous 2003/04 unbeaten season, and seven FA Cups, while revolutionising English football with his ground-breaking use of sports science and scouting of players from previously untapped markets like Africa.
Fittingly, it was a 38th minute goal from Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – the last major signing of the Wenger era – that ensured his manager went out on an uplifting note.
“I believe I had an impact on the club as a whole because the club is in a strong position, it has a new stadium, a new training ground and new players,” Wenger said.
“With the results we won three Premier League titles, played 49 games unbeaten and I’m very proud to have won seven FA Cups too.”
Having spent the last two seasons enduring abuse from Arsenal fans frustrated by their club’s failure to win the title since 2004, Wenger’s farewell tour has been played out to a soundtrack of praise.
Wenger was given a guard of honour before kick-off at the John Smith’s Stadium and the feelgood atmosphere peaked in the 22nd minute — marking his number of years in charge – when he was afforded a lengthy period of applause from the entire stadium.
Two planes flew over the stadium, carrying messages reading; “Merci Arsene, we will miss you too” and “One Arsene Wenger”.
But for all the stirring goodbyes and Wenger’s hints that he wanted to stay on for another year, Arsenal’s struggles this season sealed his fate as they missed out on a place in the Champions League for a second successive campaign.
A sixth place finish – 37 points behind champions Manchester City – was a reminder how far Arsenal’s standards had slipped in Wenger’s final years.
Yet the fine form of Aubameyang since his January arrival encouraged Wenger to claim he has left Arsenal in good hands.
“I see a bright future for my successor because the team has a good attitude and quality,” he said.
“The team needs some additions and if they get them I think they will compete for the Premier League title.”
Whether Wenger will return to management elsewhere or settle for a director of football role with one of Europe’s superpowers remains to be seen.
“I will stay in football for sure. Whether that is managing or not… I am addicted and I don’t think that can be cured,” he said.
“It will be hard to adjust of course but I will have to deal with that. I will remain an Arsenal fan above everything else.”
His Gunners journey almost at an end, Wenger returned to the pitch long after the final whistle and sought out the last remaining Arsenal fans.
Handing one supporter his tie, Wenger basked in the warm glow of their applause for a few moments before disappearing into the sunlit evening.
Cape Town – South Africa’s Pat Lambie lasted just three minutes of Saturday’s European Champions Cup final before leaving the field injured with a knee injury.
Lambie had started the match in the No 10 jersey for Racing 92 as he looked to win his first ever major international trophy.
It was not to be, though, as Leinster emerged as eventual 15-12 winners, but Lambie’s latest injury will surely have been noticed by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.
Erasmus has said that he had spoken to Lambie over the possibility of a return to the Springbok set-up, but with the June Internationals just a few weeks away, this latest news could another setback in Lambie’s international career.
The injury happened when the 27-year-old made a break for his side, and it looked serious in nature based on the way he left the field.
The Boks take on Wales on June 2 in Washington before returning home for three Tests against England.
Cape Town – Roodepoort Rugby Club has released a statement regarding the alleged racist attack involving their players in a club match against Wanderers last month.
The incident occurred during an under-21 match between the two Johannesburg clubs on Wednesday, April 25.
Wanderers released a statement claiming that racial and verbal abuse was directed towards their players by Roodepoort spectators and players.
Wanderers also claimed that Roodepoort players used the K-word towards black players in their team.
The matter is currently being investigated by the Golden Lions Rugby Union’s disciplinary committee, but Roodepoort released a statement of their own on Friday.
Roodepoort said they conducted an internal investigation which could not verify any of the claims made by Wanderers.
The club added that they would wait on the outcome of the disciplinary hearing before making further comment.
The statement released by Roodepoort read:
Roodepoort Rugby Club (RRC) has completed an internal investigation regarding the incident that took place on Wednesday 25 April 2018 during the match between RRC U21 and Wanderers U21.
The club has conducted a preliminary investigation internally and have not been able to verify the claims made by Wanderers.
Wanderers have also not been able to supply us with any evidence to prove their statements. As it stands it is all conjecture and hearsay until all claims that have been made are proven or disproved by the current investigation of the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) Disciplinary Committee.
We have been informed by the GLRU that the committee has started its work and will be calling witnesses in the next few weeks. As previously stated we are taking our lead from the GLRU and would appreciate it if a more balanced statement or article could be published indicating that it is all hearsay and that as yet no evidence of wrongdoing by Roodepoort players has been proven.
The management team at Roodepoort Rugby Club await the outcome of the GLRU Disciplinary Committee and will abide by the Committee’s ruling.